The Spotted Lanternfly is Headed North! Watch that it Doesn’t Hitch a Ride!

Spotted lanternfly, adult - Photo by Lawrence Barringer, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

Spotted lanternfly, adult - Photo by Lawrence Barringer, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

By Barbara Simeon, Regulatory Compliance Consultant, Cooperative Feed Dealers Inc. Conklin NY.

Back in November of 2018, I received a visit from the New York State Department of Agriculture asking if I had heard of the Lycorma delicatula (White), commonly known as the Spotted Lanternfly. I had not; after a brief introduction and a conversation about an external quarantine being imposed by New York State, I thought I better learn more. The good news is… there is no shortage of information on the internet about this invasive bug.

To make a long story short, the Spotted Lanternfly, native to Asia, is thought to have arrived on US shores sometime around 2012. For the next two years it remained undetected as it mated and multiplied, until its presence was confirmed in Berks County, PA on September 22, 2014 by the USDA and PDA. By 2016 it had spread to 174 square miles, by 2017 it had invaded 3,000 square miles, and it continues to spread. As of May 15, “infestations” have been identified in areas of PA, NJ, DE, MD and VA. It has also been “spotted” (pardon the pun) in areas of NY, MA and CT. Most recently, my home county, Broome, was added to the map.

How does it spread? While it is not a particularly good flier, it is a plant hopper and a hitchhiker. It adheres to flat surfaces and can travel long distances on trucks, plants and wood products. While beautiful to look at, it is a bad bug! It excretes a sap like sticky urine dubbed “Honeydew”. In highly infested areas people describe the honeydew as “raining down”! It covers trees, porches, decks and other surfaces. It then degrades to a black “sooty mold” that is damaging and very difficult to remove. In the same way it damages crops, fruit trees, hardwoods and other items costing billions in economic damage.

The potential impact on the agricultural community is great and we should all learn what we can about this bad bug! A good place to start is the USDA website I would be remiss if I did not state that this is one of many invasive bugs in our midst. But this one is of particular concern in the Northeast at this time.

As I mentioned earlier, New York State has an external quarantine requiring commercial vehicles doing business in the infested areas to obtain training and permits (issued by PDA) to enter NY. They will be conducting inspections at DOT stops. PA is inspecting commercial vehicles exiting the quarantine counties and will potentially fine companies that do not obtain training and permits. The good news is the training permits are free! To learn more visit While CFD cannot issue your permits, we can assist with training needs. For more information contact me at